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Is Chamber politicized with Foster’s campaign colored welcome sign?
Electronic reader board with sign is on city-owned land,
State Auditor: Mayor should prevent all appearances of a conflict of interest

Chamber electronic sign on city-owned land
Photo credit: YelmNews.com

– Story highlights:
* Yelm Chamber electronic board has welcome greeting from Foster in his campaign colors,
* The sign’s recent placement is revealing, Foster not previously has had a welcoming.
* The timing clearly connotes a campaign message and an implied Chamber endorsement.
* This exact board has been in the news previously at former Mayor Harding’s hand,
* As the Chamber’s electric billboard sits on city-owned land.
* In 2013, State Auditor sent Harding and the city of Yelm a letter regarding this sign –
* Mayor should have “bent over backwards” to prevent any and all appearances of conflict
of interest on the reader board. The same now applies to Foster’s electronic sign.
* Did the Foster campaign pay the Chamber for this welcome sign?
* Why did Foster omit his welcome sign on the city’s board? Same reason applies here.
* Let’s be careful not to yet again politicize our Chamber’s electronic reader board.

– The Washington State Auditors Office issued the Accountability Audit Report for the City of Yelm on February 19, 2013. The Assistant State Auditor responded to a “hotline referral” about an appearance of a conflict of interest on Mayor Harding’s part in May, 2010.

Harding was the then-Treasurer & President-elect of the Yelm Chamber of Commerce and Mayor of Yelm and “brought a proposal to the chamber board to purchase an electronic sign” to rent to advertisers and be placed on a city-owned easement at the corner of Killion Rd. & Yelm Ave.

– From then-Nisqually Valley News Editor/Publisher Keven Graves Op-Ed of May 21, 2010:
“As mayor, Harding has the potential to knowingly or unknowingly ‘grease the skids’ for the chamber in this process.”

“I believe the ‘perception’ of a conflict of interest can be every bit as damaging as a genuine conflict of interest.”

– An excerpt of the State Auditor’s results of the City of Yelm audit are as follows:
Mayor Harding should have…“bent over backwards” to prevent any and all appearances of a conflict of interest about the Chamber’s electronic reader board on city-owned land.
Read more

– Editor’s note:
I agree with former Nisqually Valley News Editor/Publisher Keven Graves, finding this relevant to Foster’s current campaign designed welcome sign on the Chamber’s board atop city-owned land:
“I believe the ‘perception’ of a conflict of interest can be every bit as damaging as a genuine conflict of interest.”

The Yelm Community Blogger is a Chamber of Commerce member and Foster campaign contributor.

Posted by Steve on October 5, 2017 at 12:01 am | Permalink

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